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Thursday, September 16, 2010

What Does This Odd Mailing Address Mean?

“I work for private agency. We are sending out some inquiries, and a few of them have an odd mailing address. It is a name, followed by a 6-7 digit number, then BCS LS MC Newton Falls, Ohio 44444. We can’t discover what that means. Can you help us?” This question from an out-of-state caller intrigued the Newton Falls Public Library staff.

First we telephoned the local post office and spoke with the Newton Falls postmaster. She informed us that while she didn’t know the meaning of the letters, the mail that came through with that designation was delivered to the Ravenna Arsenal [now named Camp Ravenna Joint Military Training Center]. Following our conversation with her, we spoke with someone at Camp Ravenna. The series of numbers is the unit designation, but she was not familiar with the meaning of the letters.

We next examined the books in our collection. Neither The Oxford Essential Dictionary of Abbreviations nor Acronyms, Initialisms & Abbreviations Dictionary gave abbreviations or acronyms which seemed to answer our question.

The search continued online. When the stewardship of the Ravenna Army Ammunition Plant was transferred to the Ohio National Guard, it became Camp Ravenna. We looked at their website While informative about the Ohio National Guard, we could find no pertinent information. The Military Postal Service Agency [] has interesting details about the mailing of packages, FAQs, and some commonly used abbreviations. However, we were unable to locate any examples matching ours. has an extensive listing of military abbreviations. There were 4 examples for BCS, 4 for LS, and 13 for MC. MC for Marine Corps or Medical Corps seemed to be only one that may apply as part of a military mailing address. None of the others seemed appropriate for this question.

We informed our caller by email of what we discovered.

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